The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the reported cases of sexual abuse committed by members of the rebel New People’s Army (NPA) in Kananga, Leyte against minor girls.
According to reports obtained by the CHR, two 14-year-old girls were reportedly rescued by the 93rd Infantry Battalion from the armed group’s camp on September 13, 2020. The girls said that they were sexually abused and were even forced to take oral contraceptive pills by the said rebels.
CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia expressed alarm over the ordeal faced by the minors. “We strongly denounce the use of sexual violence as a widespread and systematic tactic of war. The Commission underscores that in armed situations characterized by violence, brutality, and coercion, perpetrators can operate with even greater impunity,” she said.
De Guia added that sexual slavery and recruitment of child soldiers, among many other things, are forms of human trafficking. These horrifying actions are sadly being employed by rebels not just to sow fear, but as an “incentive” to lure in new fighters.
The CHR has called on the government to step up its efforts in protecting people who have been victimized by armed conflict.
“We call on the government to provide redress for the victims including multi-sectoral assistance for health, psycho-social support, and reintegration in their communities. They require rehabilitation and special attention after their demobilization from the camp,” said de Guia.
For its part, the CHR will conduct its own independent probe regarding the sexual abuse case. It is likewise urging authorities to conduct a swift and impartial investigation on the case so as to make the offenders accountable for their actions.